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Articles Posted in Nursing Negligence

Lomita Post-Acute Care Center of Los Angeles County, California was issued a Class AA Citation by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on August 14, 2020 after a resident was killed due to sepsis resulting from negligent patient care at the facility.

The Care Center failed to follow its own policies and procedures to ensure that the resident, who had been admitted just 7 days prior, received the care she needed, which started with an accurate assessment of the resident’s change of condition, in combination with urinary catheter care, reporting to the physician the resident’s change of condition in a timely manner, and sending the resident to the hospital only after a family member insisted.

Interviews and Nurses Notes indicated that on several instances there was no documented confirmation that the Resident’s catheter was being examined per physician’s orders. Which likely contributed to the UTI that later caused Sepsis in the Resident.

Nursing home residents in Orange County have a wide variety of rights under California law, which are designed to protect nursing home residents from elder abuse and neglect. Much too often, seniors in skilled nursing facilities in Southern California are still subject to poor care and intentional abuse, and many suffer serious or life-threatening injuries as a result. However, it is still important for older adults and their families to know what their rights are under California law. 

Even if the existence of nursing home residents’ rights are insufficient to prevent nursing home abuse or neglect from happening in the first place, recognizing rights and understanding when they have been violated may allow a senior or her family to take action by filing a claim against the facility or a particular healthcare provider. The following are examples of the resident rights in Orange County nursing homes.

General Residents’ Rights in California Nursing Homes

Nursing homes in San Bernardino County and throughout the state of California have a duty to patients when it comes to infection-control measures and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Yet many facilities have not provided the type of protection that is necessary for seniors, resulting in serious and deadly COVID-19 infections. When a nursing home fails to provide the type of protection to seniors that is necessary to avoid infection with a deadly virus, the nursing home may be liable for negligence. According to a recent report in Becker’s Hospital Review, hospitals and nursing homes across California are facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines for “lax coronavirus protection.” 

Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

One of the most important infection-control measures for nursing homes is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff. PPE helps to prevent nursing home staff members from contracting the virus in a nursing home, but also from spreading it to patients within the facility. According to the article, the California Occupational Safety and Health division is currently proposing more than $77,000 in fines for five skilled nursing facilities and hospitals in the state for failing to provide adequate PPE.

The prospect of filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit in San Diego County can feel daunting, especially if you are unsure about whether it makes sense to begin the process of taking action against a particular facility. The most critical thing to remember is that, if you have any suspicions about nursing home abuse or neglect, it is always a better idea to do something than to hope that your concerns are misplaced. Much too often, nursing home abuse occurs—and continues to happen—because nobody takes action to stop it. An experienced San Diego County nursing home abuse attorney can help you to understand whether you have a valid claim, and what steps you need to take in order to move forward with a lawsuit.

 
In the meantime, the following are some commonly asked questions about nursing home abuse claims, along with answers to help you get started.

 
How Does California Law Define Nursing Home Abuse?

Prior to the start of 2020, nobody was considering the ways in which a global pandemic could impact a senior’s risk of suffering injuries as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect. Yet the coronavirus pandemic has, for many older adults, made things worse. According to a recent article in MarketWatch, the pandemic has meant that “many older adults have become more vulnerable” and are suffering harm that otherwise could have been prevented.

 
Whether you currently live in a nursing home in San Bernardino County or have an elderly loved one in a skilled nursing facility in Southern California, it is essential to learn more about elder abuse risks during the pandemic and what can be done to mitigate them.

 
Facilities Refusing to Allow Residents to Reenter

Although nursing homes in Orange County and throughout Southern California are largely focused on issues pertaining to COVID-19 infections and methods of preventing illness and death among residents and patients, it is important to remember that long-term care facilities still have other duties when it comes to resident safety. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities in California need to provide a certain level of care to patients in order to prevent injuries from happening solely as a result of inadequate care. Many injuries in nursing homes happen because a resident tried to get out of bed herself after being unable to reach a nurse, or a resident fell because a staff member was not providing proper observation.

 
To be clear, many injuries in nursing homes do not result from bad intentions, but rather from a lack of care often due to inadequate staffing. As many staff members call in sick with COVID-19 and staff members are swamped with coronavirus mitigation duties, more residents could be at risk of a fall-related injury. The following are five things to know about falls in nursing homes.

 
Adults Aged 65 and Older Fall More Often Than You Might Think

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash-1-300x201A new federal nursing home bill is designed to prevent elder abuse, and it could help patients at facilities in San Bernardino County and throughout California. According to a recent article in Skilled Nursing News, the proposed legislation “seeks to protect individuals in nursing homes by implementing more stringent staffing protocols—including increased clinical hours and training—among other safety measures for residents.” Nursing home abuse and neglect often occurs as a result of understaffing. If a federal law were to mandate certain staffing numbers in facilities, rates of abuse and neglect could drop. 

Learning More About the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act

The proposed law is known as the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act. The bill is co-sponsored by two Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Illinois) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut). It has support from lawmakers in both the House and Senate. In addition to requiring certain staffing levels for facilities receiving payments through Medicare and Medicaid, the bill would also make other changes to nursing home mandates. First, nursing staff members would be required to go through “heightened training” and would be subject to heightened “supervision obligations.” This requirement, in connection with the requirement for increased staff numbers, aims to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect by targeting staff at these facilities. Three registered nurses (RNs) would have to be on staff as “management personnel.”

obed-hernandez-592136-unsplash-copy-212x300If you are seeking out a nursing home for an elderly loved one in Orange County, it can be difficult to identify a facility that has a strong history of complying with safety regulations and providing quality care for patients. While you might think that a more expensive nursing home is less likely to engage in hiring practices that could lead to injuries caused by nursing home abuse or neglect, the price of a nursing home is not necessarily indicative of its quality. Even expensive nursing homes can have safety citations and histories of nursing home abuse injuries. According to a recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has plans to update its “Nursing Home Compare” information to include an “abuse icon” that will alert potential patients and their families to dangerous histories of abuse and neglect. 

CMS Data Update Will Add an Abuse Icon

Currently, potential nursing home residents and their families can access information about nursing homes from the CMS “Nursing Home Compare” website. The website allows consumers to compare multiple nursing homes, assessing CMS ratings for those facilities and other important information that can illuminate whether the nursing home is a good fit. Yet that data can be difficult to navigate, especially for individuals and families who do not have experience analyzing detailed information about nursing homes. In order to make it easier to assess these facilities and to learn whether the facility has a recent history of abuse, CMS will be adding an “abuse alert icon.”

victor-garcia-718191-unsplash-copy-200x300Discussions about the use of cameras in nursing homes in Orange County and throughout Southern California have become common as lawmakers, safety advocates, and family members seek innovative solutions to prevent nursing home abuse and neglect and to gain evidence to hold perpetrators accountable. Yet, are cameras in residents’ rooms the best way to stop nursing home abuse, or are there significant ethical issues that we need to consider before we decide that the benefits of “granny cams,” as these cameras are commonly called, outweigh their limitations? 

A recent article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News addresses the ethics of “granny cams” in nursing homes and suggests that more research needs to be done concerning these tools before they become widespread.

Are Nursing Home Cameras Ethical, or do They Invade Residents’ Privacy?

rawpixel-487102-unsplash-copy-300x207One of the most common reasons that seniors sustain serious injuries from nursing home neglect is understaffing. When skilled nursing facilities do not have enough staff members, there are not enough people to provide the necessary care to patients and residents at the facility. Both California state law and federal law require skilled nursing facilities to have a specific staff-to-patient ratio to help ensure that seniors are getting the care they need. However, according to a recent article in The New York Times, many nursing homes across the country have been overstating their staffing numbers in order to be in compliance with state and federal regulations. As a result, patients have been suffering from nursing home abuse and neglect.

Federal Data Shows Inadequate Staffing Levels at Many Nursing Homes

For many years, according to the article, numerous family members of seniors in skilled nursing facilities have worried that staffing levels were insufficient. As it turns out, many of those suspicions and fears have some validity to them. Indeed, “on the worst staffed days at an average facility, the new data show, on-duty personnel cared for nearly twice as many residents as they did when the staffing roster was fullest.” Records also showed that there were significant fluctuations in staffing numbers at many facilities from day to day, with some days having adequate staff while others had grossly inadequate staff on hand to meet the needs of the residents.

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